Revealed at Makkah.


THIS chapter owes its name to the mention of the bee as having received a divine revelation in ver. 70. The contents differ little from those of other Makkan chapters of the later Makkan period which admonish the unbelieving Quraish, by instruction as to the character of the true God, by reproach for ingratitude and folly, by warning and threatening. God's claim to worship and obedience is coustantly supported reference to his works in creation and providence. At the same time the ingratitude and wicked apostasy of the idolaters is exposed by reference to their acknowledgment of God in distress and trouble, and their turning away from him to the service of idols in prosperity. He points to their own disappointment and shame when daughters were born to them as a proof of their wickedness in attributing daughters to God.

This chapter throws some light upon the source from which Muhammad received his so-called inspiration. In ver. 105 he is charged with receiving assistance in writing the Quran from some one. In his very lame reply he admits having intercourse with a foreigner, but avers that he could not have written the Quran, which is in "the perspicuous Arabic." The commentators, on the authority of tradition, give us the names of a number of Jewish and Christian converts as being here alluded to. We may therefore agree with Muhammad that this foreigner did not write the Quran, while at the same time believing that the Quraish were correct in charging him with receiving help from such a person. See notes on ver. 105.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

Though some have thought the latter portion of this chapter, beginning with ver. 43, or even the whole chapter, belongs to Madina, yet all the evidence, internal as well as external, obliges us to place


it among the later Makkan Suras. Vers. 43, 111, 119,120, and 125, however, must, according to NoŽldeke, be assigned to Madina. Though Sale, guided by the commentators, assigns the last three verses of the chapter to Madina, I think NoŽldeke and Weil have shown clearly that they belong to Makkah The application of the passage to the case of Muhammad's oath to avenge Hamza's death is all that is required to account for the tradition that the passage was revealed after Hamza's death.

The allusion to the famine in vers. 113 and 114 shows that the revelations here belong to the latter part of Muhammad's mission at Makkah, while the exhortation of ver. 126 points to a time when Muhammad was not despairing of the conversion of the Quraish. The accusation of ver. 105 also points to a period some time preceding the Hijra.

Principal Subjects.

God's judgment sure to be visited on the infidels ... 1
Revelation is from God by the ministry of angels .. . 2
God the Creator, as his works testify . . . 3-8
God the true instructor of man . . . 9
His works in heaven, earth, and sea described . . . 10-14
The earth made firm by the monntains . . . 15
The stars appointed to guide man . . . 16
God not to be compared to idols . . . 17
God merciful and omniscient .. . . 18, 19
The character of the idols declared . . . 20-22
Infidels reject the one true God . . . 23
The Omniscient hates the proud . . . . . 24, 25
Muhammad charged with forgery . . . . . 26
The unbelievers shall be destroyed . . . . . 27, 28
Idolaters will be disappointed in the resurrection .. . 29-31
The reward of the righteous . . . 32-34
Infidels can only look for judgment . . . 35, 36
They lay their crimes to God's charge . . . 37
Every nation has its own prophet . . . 38
The dreadful end of infidelity . . . 38, 39
The infidels deny the resurrection . . . 40
They shall be taught their error . . . 41
God creates by a word . . . 42
Promises to the Muhajirin . . . 43
The patient believer will be rewarded . . . 44
The custodians of the Scriptures to he inquired of .. . 45
The Quran sent to be proclaimed to the people . . . 46
The Prophet's enemies will be punished . . . 47-49


All God's creatures worship him . . . 50-52
The true God to be worshipped and obeyed . .. 53-55
Idolaters are ungrateful . . . 56-58
Hating daughters, the Quraish attribute daughters to God... 59-61
The human race dependent on God's mercy . . 62, 63
Idolatry unreasonable . . . 64
Satan the patron of the ungodly . . . 65
Why the Quran was sent . . . 66
God's witness to himself in nature . . . . 67-69
The bee taught of God . . . . . . . 70, 71
All man is and all he has is of God . . . 72-74
Yet man worships idols . . . 75
God not to be likened to anything . . . 76
The parable of a slave and his master . . . 77
The parable of the blind man and one having sight . . . 73
The affairs of the judgment-day shall be accomplished in a moment . . . 79
God to be obeyed because he is Creator and Preserver ... 80-83
Muhammad only a public preacher . . . 84
Idolaters recognise God's mercy and yet deny him . . 85
Every nation has a witness against it . . . . . 86, 87
Idolaters shall be deserted by their idols . . . . 88, 89
Infidel leaders to be severely punished . . . . 90
Muhammad is God's witness against the Arabians .. . 91
Exhortation to loyalty to God . . . 92-99
Muhammad to have recourse to God in reading the Quran. ..100
Satan has no power over believers . . . 101, 102
The doctrine of abrogation announced . . . . 103
The Quran seat down by the " holy spirit" . . . 104
Muhammad charged with writing the Quran with foreign help . . .105
The unbelievers shall be punished . . . 106, 107
Forced apostasy no offence against God . . 108
Willful apostates condemned . . . 108-110
The Muhajirin blessed . . . 111
The rewards of the judgment-day will be just . . . 112
Makkah punished by famine for unbelief . . . 113,114
Lawful and unlawful food . . . 115-119
Sins of ignorance may be pardoned . . . 120
Muhammad exhorted to adopt the religion of Abraham .. . 121-124
Friday to be observed instead of the Sabbath . . . 125
Infidels not to be treated harshly . . . . . 126
Patient forbearance better than vengeance. . . . 127
God is with the righteous . . . 128



R 1/7.

(1) The sentence of God will surely come to be executed, wherefore do not hasten it. Praise be unto him! and far be that from him which they associate with him! (2) He shall cause the angels to descend with a revelation by his command, unto such of his servants as he pleaseth, saying, Preach that there is no GOD, except myself; therefore fear me. (3) He hath created the heavens and the earth, to manifest his justice: far be that from him which they associate with him! (4) He hath created man of seed, and yet behold he is a professed disputer against the resurrection. (5) He hath likewise created the cattle for you; from them ye have wherewith to keep yourselves warm, and other advantages; and of them do ye also eat. (6) And they are likewise a credit unto you, when ye drive them home in the evening, and when ye lead them forth to feed in the morning; (7) and they carry your burdens to a distant country, at which ye could not other-wise arrive, unless with great difficulty to yourselves; for your LORD is compassionate and merciful. (8) And he hath also created horses, and mules, and asses, that ye may ride thereon, and for an ornament unto you; and he like-

(1) The sentence of God. The allusion is to the punishment threatened against the unbelieving people of Makkah, and which they constantly urged him to hasten.- Tafsir-i-Raufi.

(2) With a revelation. Rodwell translates literally, " with the Spirit." The Tafsir-i-Raufi says the angels when sent down to earth are always accompanied by a spirit. The idea is that as Muhammad pretended to be accompanied by Gabriel, "the holy spirit" (chap. iv. 169), so every angel had a similar spirit to communicate to him the divine will.

(4) A professed disputer. "The person particularly intended in this place was Ubbai Ibn Khalaf, who came to Muhammad with a rotten bone and asked him whether it was possible for God to restore it to life."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(5) Wherewith, &c., i.e., "their skins, wool, and hair, which serve you for clothing. "- Sale.

(6) A credit unto you. "Being a grace to your courtyards and a credit to you in the eyes of your neighbours."- Sale.


wise created other things which ye know not. (9) It appertaineth unto GOD to instruct men in the right way, and there is who turneth aside from the same; but if he had pleased he would certainly have directed you all.

R 2/8.

(10) It is he who sendeth down from heaven rain water, whereof ye have to drink, and from which plants, whereon ye feed your cattle, receive their nourishment. (11) And by means thereof he causeth corn, and olives, and palm-trees, and grapes, and all kinds of fruits to spring forth for you. Surely herein is a sign of the divine power and wisdom unto people who consider. (12) And he hath subjected the night and the day to your service, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, which are compelled to serve by his command. Verily herein are signs unto people of understanding. (13) And he hath also given you dominion over whatever he hath created for you in the earth, distinguished by its different colour. Surely herein is a sign unto people who reflect. (14) It is he who hath subjected the sea unto you, that ye might eat fish thereout, and take from thence ornaments for you to wear; and thou seest the ships ploughing the waves thereof, that ye may seek to enrich yourselves of his abundance by commerce; and that ye might give thanks. (15) And hie hath thrown upon the earth mountains firmly

(9) If he had pleased, &c. Here again the reprobation of the wicked is made to depend upon God's will. The saved escape because God pleaseth," and the wicked are lost "because God pleaseth." These are not directed, and so cannot be saved. The doctrine here is decidedly fatalistic.

(12) Verily herein are signs. These are all signs of God's power, wisdom, kindness, and love, but not signs of Muhammad's apostleship.- Note on Roman Urdu Quran.

(13) Different colour, i.e., "of every kind ; the various colour of things being one of their chief distinctions."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(14) Fish. "Literally, fresh flesh; by which fish is meant, as being naturally more flesh, and sooner liable to corruption, than the flesh of birds and beasts. The expression is thought to have been made use of here the rather because the production of such fresh food from salt water is an instance of God's power."- Sale, Baidhawi.

Ornaments, as pearl and coral.


rooted, lest it should move with you, and also rivers, and paths, that ye might be directed: (16) and he hath likewise ordained marks whereby men may know their way; and they are directed by the stars. (17) Shall God therefore, who createth, be as he who createth not? Do ye not therefore consider? (18) If ye attempt to reckon up the favours of GOD, ye shall not be able to compute their number; GOD is surely gracious and merciful; (19) and GOD knoweth that which ye conceal, and that which ye publish. (20) But the idols which ye invoke, besides GOD, create nothing, but are themselves created. (21) They are dead, and not living; neither do they understand (22) when they shall be raised.

R 3/9.

(23) Your GOD is one GOD. As to those who believe not in the life to come, their hearts deny the plainest evidence, and they proudly reject the truth. (24) There is no doubt but GOD knoweth that which they conceal and that which they discover. (25) Verily he loveth not the proud.(26) And when it is said unto them, What hath your LORD sent down unto Muhammad? they answer, Fables of ancient times. (27) Thus are they given up to error, that they may bear their own burdens without diminution on the day of resurrection, and also a part of the burdens of those whom they caused to err, without knowledge. Will it not be an evil burden which they shall bear?

(15) Lest it should move with you. "The Muhammadans suppose that the earth, when first created, was smooth and equal, and thereby liable to a circular motion as well as the celestial orbs; and that the angels asking who could be able to stand on so tottering a frame, God fixed it the next morning by throwing the mountains on it." - Sale.

See notes on chaps. xv. 19, xxxi. 9, and lxxviii. 7.

(16) The stars. "Which are their guides, not only at sea, but also on land, when they travel by night through the deserts. The stars which they observe for this purpose are either the Pleiades or some of those near the pole."- Sale.

(18) See chap. xiv. 37.

(22) I.e., "At what time they or their worshippers shall be raised to receive judgment." - Sale.

(26) Fables. See notes on chap. vi. 24.


R 4/10.

(28) Their predecessors devised plots heretofore: but GOD came into their building, to overthrow it from the foundations ; and the roof fell on them from above, and a punishment came upon them, from whence they did not expect. (29) Also on the day of resurrection he will cover them with shame; and will say, Where are my companions, concerning whom ye disputed? Those unto whom knowledge shall have been given shall answer, This day shall shame and misery fall upon the unbelievers. (30) They whom the angels shall cause to die, having dealt unjustly with their own souls, shall offer to make their peace in the article of death saing, We have done no evil. But the angels shall reply, Yea ; verily GOD well knoweth that which ye have wrought : (31) wherefore enter the gates of hell, therein to remain for ever; and miserable shall be the abode of the proud. (32) And it shall be said unto those who shall fear God, What hath your LORD sent down? They shall answer, Good ; unto those who do right shall be given an excellent reward in this world; but the dwelling of the next life shall be better; and happy shall be the dwelling of the pious! (33) namely, gardens of eternal abode, into which they shall enter; rivers shall flow beneath the same; therein shall they

(28) "Some understand this passage figuratively, of God's disappointing their wicked designs ; but others suppose the words literally relate to the tower which Nimrod (whom the Muhammadans will have to be the son of Canaan, the son of Ham, and so the nephew of Cush, and not his son) built in Babel, and carried to an immense height (five thousand cubits, say some), foolishly purposing thereby to ascend to heaven, and wage war with the inhabitants of that place ; but God frustrated his attempt, utterly overthrowing the tower by a violent wind and earthquake."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin, D'Herbelot, Bibl. Orient., Article NIMROD. The allusion may be to Judges xvi.

(29) Those unto whom knowledge,&c. "The prophets, and the teachers and professors of God's unity, or the angels." - Sale.

(30) Shall offer to make their peace. " Making their submission, and humbly excusing their evil actions, as proceeding from ignorance, and not from obstinacy or malice."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

(33) Gardens of eternal abode. See note on chap. ix. 73.


enjoy whatever they wish. Thus will GOD recompense the pious. (34) Unto the righteous, whom the angels shall cause to die, they shall say, Peace be upon you; enter ye into paradise, as a reward for that which ye have wrought. (35) Do the unbelievers expect any other than that the angels come unto them to part their souls from their bodies, or that the sentence of thy LORD come to be executed on them? So did they act who were before them; and GOD was not unjust towards them in that he destroyed them; but they dealt unjustly with their own souls; (36) the evils of that which they committed reached them; and the divine judgment which they scoffed at fell upon them.

R 5/11.

(37) The idolaters say, If GOD had pleased, we had not worshipped anything besides him, neither had our fathers: neither had we forbidden anything, without him. So did they who were before them. But is the duty of the apostles any other than public preaching? (38) We have heretofore raised up in every nation an apostle to admonish them, saying, Worship GOD, and avoid Taghut.

(34) For that which ye have wrought. The way of salvation is still by works. The idea of salvation by grace, in a Christian sense, or by atonement, is nowhere to be found in the Quran. But the Quran everywhere professes to confirm the doctrines of the former scriptures, and to purify the one true religion from the errors of idolatry. The fact, therefore, that the Quran, instead of confirming the teachings of the former scriptures, actually contradicts them and endeavours to preach another gospel, stamps it as false and deceptive.

(37) Neither had we forbidden, &c. "This they spoke in a scoffing manner, justifying their idolatry and superstitious abstaining from certain cattle, by pretending, that had these things been disagree able to God, he would not have suffered them to be practiced."- Sale.

See notes on vi. 142-148.

The duty of the apostles. The duty of the apostles is not to work miracles such as the unbelievers demanded, but to preach publicly the message of God. Passages of this kind plainly show that Muhammad did hot work miracles. The "signs "he pointed to were all the works of GOD. See notes on chap. vi. 47. It is note-worthy that Muhammad's ideas of the duty of apostles underwent a wonderful change on his arrival in Madina See chap. viii. 68 and ix. 5.

(38) Taghut. The word here means idols or idolatry. See note on chap. ii. 256.


And of them there were some whom GOD directed, and there were others of them who were decreed to go astray. Wherefore go through the earth, O tribe of Quraish, and see what had been the end of those who accused their apostles of imposture. (39) If thou, O Prophet, doest earnestly wish for their direction, verily GOD will not direct him whom he hath resolved to lead into error; neither shall they have any helpers. (40) And they swear most solemnly by GOD, saying, GOD will not raise the dead. Yea; the promise thereof is true: but the greater part of men know it not (41) He will raise them that he may clearly show them the truth concerning which they now disagree, and that the unbelievers may know that they are liars.


R 6/12.

(42) Verily our speech unto anything, when we will the same, is, that we only say unto it, Be; and it is. (43) As for those who have fled their country for the sake of GOD, after they had been unjustly persecuted; we will surely provide them an excellent habitation in

Decreed to go astray. The Quraish seem to have been right in their judgment as given in verse 37, where see note.

(39) God, having given over the sinner to hardness of heart, thereby punishes the sin of charging the Prophet with imposture. Yet most of these hardened Quraish became Muslims. Observe that Muhammad's position here excludes the office of intercessor, in a Christian sense. God hardens those whom he has decreed to he lost, and for such intercession is of no avail. Others being decreed unto life, the office of the Prophet is not to intercede, but to bring into the right way, which secures the chosen ones a place in Paradise.

(40) They swear, &c. The commentators have a story to illustrate everything. A believer, urging the payment of a sum due him from an infidel, remarked that he expected the profit of his loan after death. " Do you believe in life after death?" said the infidel. "Yes," replied the Muslim. Whereupon the infidel swore a solemn oath, by all his gods, that there was no life after death.

(42) Be; and it is. These words express to the Muslim God's power as Creator and Sovereign. They agree with the declaration of Jewish and Christian Scriptures, that God "spake and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast" (Ps. xxxiii. 9).

(43) Those who fled. "Some suppose the Prophet and the companions of his flight in general are here intended ; others suppose


this world, but the reward of the next life shall be greater ; if they knew it. (44) They who persevere patiently, and put their trust in the LORD, shall not jail of happiness in this life and in that which is to come. (45) We have not sent any before thee, as our apostles, other than men, unto whom we spake by revelation. Inquire therefore of those who have the custody of the Scriptures, if ye know not this to be truth. (46) We sent them with evident miracles and written revelations; and we have sent down unto thee this Quran, that thou mayest declare unto mankind that which hath been sent down unto them, and that they may consider. (47) Are they

that those are particularly meant in this place who, after Muhammad's departure, were imprisoned at Makkah on account of their having embraced his religion, and suffered great persecution from the Quraish; as Bilal, Suhaib, Khabhah, Ammar, Abbis, Abul, Jandal, and Suhail. "- Sale, Baidhawi.

They might be applied to those who fled to Ethiopia, and thus the verse be assigned to Makkah, except for the fact that it is more natural to refer the passage to Madina, where the term muhajirin (refugees) possessed the technical signification it has here.

If they knew it. "It is uncertain whether the pronoun they relates to the infidels or to the true believers. If to the former, the consequence would be that they would be desirous of attaining to the happiness of the Muhajirin, by professing the same faith; if to the latter, the knowledge of this is urged as a motive to patience and perseverance."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(45) Other than men, i.e., we have not sent angels, which statement is made in reply to the taunt of the Quraish that Muhammad was only a man. This verse contains a distinct claim of inspiration, the object being to show that Muhammad did not differ in any way from other prophets.

Those who have the custody of the Scriptures. Here we have a clear statement, showing as plainly as language can express the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians, extant in the time of Muhammad, were regarded by him as the word of God. That they were extant is evident from the exhortation to inquire, and also from the words, "who have the custody." Muslims are therefore bound to accept the current Bible as inspired, or, if changed and corrupted since Muhammad's time, they are not only obliged to show when, where, and how they became corrupt, but also how they failed to preserve the sacredly attested volumes from corruption. See also notes on chap. ii. 121 and 136 iii. 93, v.70, vi. 90, &c.

(46) This Quran, literally This admonition.

That which hath been sent down to them, i.e., what was sent down


who have plotted evil against their Prophet secure that GOD will not cause the earth to cleave under them, or that a punishment will not come upon them, from whence they do not expect; (48) or that he will not chastise them while they are busied in travelling from one place to another, and in traffic? (for they shall not be able to elude the power of God,) (49) or that he will not chastise them by a gradual destruction? But your LORD is truly gracious and merciful in granting you respite. (50) Do they do not consider the things which GOD hath created; whose shadows are cast on the right hand and on the left, worshipping GOD, and become contracted? (51) Whatever moveth both in heaven and on earth worshippeth GOD, and the angels also; and they are not elated with pride, so as to disdain his service: (52) they fear their LORD, who is exalted above them, and perform that which they are commanded.

R 7/13.

(53) GOD said, Take not unto yourselves two gods; for there is but one GOD: and revere me. (54) Unto him belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth; and unto him is obedience eternally due. Will ye therefore fear any besides GOD? (55) Whatever favours ye have received are certainly from GOD; and when evil afflicteth you, unto him do ye make your supplication ; (56) yet when he taketh the evil from off you, behold, a part of you give a companion unto their LORD, (57) to show their ingratitude for the favours we have bestowed on them. Delight yourselves in the enjoyments of this life: but hereafter shall ye know that ye cannot escape the divine ven

to the former prophets, as well as what has been sent down to thee in the Quran.

(47) Are they . . . secure, &c.? Some suppose allusion is here made to the swallowing up of Korah and his company (Num. xvi.)

(50) Whose shadows, &c. See chap. xiii. 16, and notes there.

(53) Not two gods, &c. The meaning seems to be that a plurality of gods shall not be worshiped.


geance. (58) And they set apart unto idols which have no knowledge a part of the food which we have provided for them. By GOD, ye shall surely be called to account for that which ye have falsely devised. (59) They attribute daughters unto GOD (far be it from him!), but unto themselves children of the sex which they desire. (60) And when any of them is told the news of the birth of a female, his face becometh black, and he is deeply afflicted: (61) he hideth himself from the people, because of the ill tidings which have been told him; considering within himself whether he shall keep it with disgrace, or whether he shall bury it in the dust. Do they not make an ill judgment? (62) Unto those who believe not in the next life, the similitude of evil ought to be applied, and unto GOD the most sublime similitude: for he is mighty and wise.

(58) They set apart, &c., i.e., the making sacred of certain animals, which otherwise might have served for food. The same was done with some of the fruits of the land (see chap. v.102, and vi. 138, &c.)

Which have no knowledge. " Or, which they know not; foolishly imagining that they have power to help them, or interest with God to intercede for them."- Sale.

By God. One would naturally suppose this was the language of Muhammad. Muslims, however, understand such expressions to be introduced by the word say (see the introduction to chap. i.)

(59) Daughters. "Baidhawi says that the tribes of Khudhaah and Kinana, in particular, used to call the angels the daughters of God."- Sale. See notes on chap. iv. 116, and Prelim. Disc., pp.38 and 70.

Which they desire, viz.," sons ; for the birth of a daughter was looked on as a kind of misfortune among the Arabs; and they often used to put theta to death by burying them alive."- Sale. See on chap. lxxxi. 8.(60) His face becometh black. "Clouded with confusion and sorrow."- Sale.

(61) Bury it in the dust. The allusion is to the cruel habit of burying female children alive, which obtained among the Quraish before they embraced Islam. A touching story is told of the Khalifah Othman, who, it is said, never wept except on the occasion when his little daughter, whom he buried alive, wiped from his bearded face the dust of the grave.

(62) Sublime similitude. "This passage condemns the Makkans' injudicious and blasphemous application of such circumstances to God as were unworthy of him, and not only derogatory to the perfections of the Deity, but even disgraceful to man; while they arrogantly applied the more honourable circumstatices to themselves."- Sale.


R 8/14.

(63) If GOD should punish men for their iniquity, he would not leave on the earth any moving thing: but he giveth them respite unto an appointed time; and when their time shall come, they shall not be respited an hour, neither shall their punishmemt be anticipated. (64) They attribute unto GOD that which they dislike themselves, and their tongues utter a lie, namely, that the reward of paradise is for them. There is no doubt but that the fire of hell is prepared for them, and that they shall be sent thither before the rest of the wicked. (65) By GOD, we have heretofore sent messengers unto the nations before thee: but Satan prepared their works for them; he was their patron in this world, and in that which is to come they shall suffer a grievous torment. (66) We have not sent down the book of the Quran unto thee for any other purpose than that thou shouldest declare unto them that truth concerning which they disagree, and for a direction and mercy unto people who believe. (67) GOD sendeth down water from heaven, and causeth the earth to revive after it hath been dead. Verily herein is a sign of the resurrection unto people who hearken. (68) Ye have also in cattle an example of instruction: we give you to drink of that which is in their bellies; a liquor between digested dregs and blood, namely, pure milk, which is swallowed

(63) He would not leave, &c. It follows from this that Muhammad was a sinner.

(64) That which they dislike, &c. "By giving him daughters and associates in power and honour, by disregarding his messengers, and by setting apart the better share of the presents and offerings for their idols and the worse for him."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(65) He was their patron &c. "Or, he is the patron of them (viz. of the Quraish) this day, &c."- Sale.

(66) That concerning which they disagree, i.e., the divine unity and the resurrection. - Tafsir.i.Raufi.

(68) Digested dregs and blood, &c. "The milk consisting of certain particles of the blood, supplied from the finer parts of the aliment. Ibn Abbas says that the grosser parts of the food subside into excrement, and that the finer parts are converted into milk, and the finest of all into blood.".- Sale.

Pure milk. "Having neither the colour of blood nor the smell of the excrements."- Sale, Baidhawi.


with pleasure by those who drink it. (69) And of the fruits of palm-trees and of grapes, ye obtain an inebriating liquor, and also good nourishment. Verily herein is a sign unto people who understand.

R 9/15.

(70) Thy LORD spake by inspiration unto the bee, saying, Provide thee houses in the mountains and in the trees, and of those materials wherewith men build hives for thee: (71) then eat of every kind of fruit, and walk in the beaten paths of thy LORD. There proceedeth from their bellies a liquor of various colour, wherein is a medicine for men. Verily herein is a sign unto people who

(69) An inebriating liquor. "Not only wine, which is forbidden, but also lawful food, as dates, raisins, a kind of honey flowing from the dates, and vinegar.

"Some have supposed that these words allow the moderate use of wine; but the contrary is the received opinion."- Sale.

This passage was abrogated by chap. ii. 218 and v. 92.

(70) The Lord spake by inspiration unto the bee. Rodwell translates "taught the bee," but Sale's translation is literal, the word wahi being constantly used in the sense of inspiration, including the idea of revelation from God.

Provide thee houses. "So the apartments which the bee builds are here called, because of their beautiful workmanship and admirable contrivance, which no geometrician can excel."- Sale, Baidhawi.

Burton (Pilgr., iii. 110) tells us that Makkah affords eight or nine varieties of honey.

(71) The beaten paths of thy Lord, i.e., "the ways through which, by God's power, the bitter flowers passing the bee's stomach become honey; or, the methods of making honey, which he has taught her by instinct; or else the ready way home from the distant places to which that insect flies."- Sale, Baidhawi.

A liquor of various colours, viz., "honey, the colour of which is very different, occasioned by the different plants on which the bees feed, some being white, some yellow, some red, and some black." - Sale, Baidhawi.

Burton mentions green, white, red,, and brown as among the colours of the honey of Makkah (Pilgr., iii. 110).

A medicine. "The same being not only good food, but a useful remedy in several distempers, particularly those occasioned phlegm. There is a story that a man came once to Muhammad and told him that his brother was afflicted with a violent pain in his belly ; upon which the Prophet bade him give him some honey. The fellow took his advice; but soon after coming again, told him that the medicine had done his brother no manner of service. Muhammad answered, 'Go and give him more honey, for God speaks


consider. (72) GOD hath created you, and he will here-after cause you to die: and some of you shall have his life prolonged to a decrepit age, so that he shall forget whatever he knew; for GOD is wise and powerful. (73) GOD causeth some of you to excel others in worldly possessions: yet they who are caused to excel do not give their wealth unto the slaves whom their right hands possess, that they may become equal sharers therein. Do they therefore deny the beneficence of GOD?

R 10/16.

(74) GOD hath ordained you wives from among your selves, and of your wives hath granted you children and grandchildren; and hath bestowed on you good things for food. Will they therefore believe in that which is vain, and ungratefully deny the goodness of GOD? (75) They worship, besides GOD, idols which possess nothing where with to sustain them, either in heaven or on earth; and have no power. (76) Wherefore liken not anything unto GOD: for GOD knoweth, but ye know not. (77) GOD propoundeth as a parable a possessed slave, who hath power over nothing, and him on whom we have bestowed a good provision from us, and who giveth alms

truth, and thy brother's belly lies.' And the dose being repeated, the man, by God's mercy, was immediately cured."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(73) "These words reprove the idolatrous Makkans, who could admit created beings to a share of the divine honour, though they suffered not their slaves to share with themselves in what God had bestowed on them."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(74) Wives from among yourselves. "That is, of your own nations and tribes. Some think the formation of Eve from Adam is here intended."- Sale.

(76) Liken not anything unto God. "Or propound no similitudes or comparisons between him and his creatures. One argument the Makkans employed in defence of their idolatry, it seems, was, that the worship of inferior deities did honour to God ; in the same manner as the respect showed to the servants of a prince does honour to the practice himself."- Sale, Baidhawi.

There seems to be a reference to the requirement of the second commandment of the Decalogue.

(77) "The idols are here likened to a slave, who is so far from having anything of his own, that he is himself in the possession of another; whereas God is as a rich free man, who provideth for his


thereout both secretly and openly: shall these two be esteemed equal? God forbid! But the greater part of men know it not. (78) GOD also propoundeth as a parable two men, one of them born dumb, who is unable to do or understand anything, but is a burden unto his master; whithersoever he shall send him, he shall not return with any good success: shall this man, and he who hath his speech and understanding, and who commandeth that which is just, and followeth the right way, be esteemed equal?

R 11/17.

(79) Unto GOD alone is the secret of heaven and earth known. And the business of the last hour shall be only as the twinkling of an eye, or even more quick: for GOD is almighty. (80) GOD hath brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers; ye knew nothing, and he gave you the senses of hearing and seeing, and understandings, that ye might give thanks. (81) Do they not behold the fowls which are enabled to fly in the open firmament of heaven? none supporteth them except GOD. Verily herein are signs unto people who believe. (82) GOD hath also provided you houses for habitations for you; and hath also provided you tents of the skins of cattle, which ye find light to be removed on the day of your departure to new quarters, and easy to be pitched on the

family abundantly, and also assisteth others who have need, both in public and in private."- Sale, Jalaluddin.

Secretly or openly. See note in chap. ii. 271.

(78) A parable of two men. "The idol is here again represented under the image of one who, by a defect in his senses, is a useless burden to the man who maintains him; and God, under that of a person completely qualified either to direct or to execute any useful undertaking. Some suppose the comparison is intended of a true believer and an infidel." - Sale, Baidhawi.

The "incomparable style" of the Quran never appears in a worse light than in its parables. See notes on chap. xiv. 29-32.

(79) The last hour. The resurrection and judgment. Some would have it amount to 50,000 years. See Prelim. Disc., p.141. See also chap. lxx. 4.

(82) The customs of the nomad tribes are here specially referred to.


day of your sitting down therein: and of their wool, and their fur, and their hair, hath he supplied you with furniture and household stuff for a season. (83) And GOD hath provided for you, of that which he hath created, conveniences to shade you from the sun, and he hath also provided you places of retreat in the mountains, and he hath given you garments to defend you from the beat, and coats of mail to defend you in your wars. Thus doth he accomplish his favour towards you, that ye may resign yourselves unto him. (84) But if they turn back, verily thy duty is public preaching only. (85) They acknowledge the goodness of GOD, and afterwards they deny the same, but the greater part of them are unbelievers.

R 12/18.

(86) On a certain day we will raise a witness out of every nation: then they who shall have been unbelievers shall not be suffered to excuse themselves, neither shall they be received into favour. (87) And when they who shall have acted unjustly shall see the torment prepared for them; (it shall not be mitigated unto them, neither shall they be respited:) (88) and when those who shall have been guilty of idolatry shall see their false gods, they shall say, O LORD, these are our idols which we invoked,

(83) Conveniences to shade. "As trees, houses, tents, mountains, &c."- Sale.

Places of retreat, as "caves and grottoes, both natural and artificial."- Sale.

Heat. "Al Baidhawi says, that one extreme, and that the most insupportable in Arabia, is here put for both ; but Jalaluddin supposes that by heat we are in this place to understand cold."- Sale.

Clothes are a protection against the heat, especially the turban, so commonly worn in the East.

(85) They deny the same. "Confessing God to be the author of all the blessings they enjoy, and yet directing their worship and thanks to their idols, by whose intercession they imagine blessings are obtained."- Sale.

(86) A witness out of every nation. See note on chap. iv. 40. This verse seems to necessitate the belief of some one true prophet having existed in India, China, Japan, &c The commentators understand by witness a prophet. See Tafsir-i-Husaini, in loco.

(88) Their idols, literally their companions.


besides thee. But they shall return an answer unto them, saying, Verily ye are liars. (89) And on that day shall the wicked offer submission unto GOD; and the false deities which they imagined shall abandon them. (90) As for those who shall have been infidels, and shall have turned aside others from the way of GOD, we will add unto them punishment upon punishment because they have corrupted others. (91) On a certain day we will raise up in every nation a witness against them, from among themselves; and we will bring thee, O Muhammad, as a witness against these Arabians. We have sent down unto thee the book of the Quran, for an explication of everything necessary both as to faith and practice, and a direction, and mercy, and good tidings unto the Muslims.


R 13/19.

(92) Verily GOD commanded justice, and the doing of good, and the giving unto kindred what shall be necessary; and he forbiddeth wickedness, and iniquity, and oppres-

Verily ye are liars. "For that we are not the companions of God, as ye imagined ; neither did ye really serve us, but your own corrupt affections and lusts; nor yet were ye led into idolatry by us, but ye fell into it of your own accord."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(91) A witness. See above on ver. 86.

These Arabians. This verse shows that Muhammad had not yet conceived of himself as a prophet to all nations.

An explication, &c. This verse was quoted by the Imam Abu Hanifah to prove that all law was provided for in the Quran by anticipation. According to this view, Muhammad becomes a universal witness, for, seeing that Islam is the only true religion, it was the subject of all prophecy and the teaching of all prophets. Any nation, therefore, differing in religion from Islam, was ipso facto in rebellion against God's witness raised up "from among themselves." See this subject discussed in The Faith of Islam, p. 19.

Nothing could be further from the plain import of this passage. Brinckman well says, "If the Koran explains everything and is a guidance, what need is there for the Sonna?"- Notes on Islam, p. 125.

(92) "This verse, which was the occasion of the conversion of Othman Ibn Matun, the commentators say, containeth the whole which it is a man's duty either to perform or to avoid; and is alone a sufficient demonstration of what is said in the foregoing verse. Under the three things here commanded, they understand the belief


sion: he admonisheth you that ye may remember. (93) Perform your covenant with GOD, when ye enter into covenant with him; and violate not your oaths, after the ratification thereof; since ye have made GOD a witness over you. Verily GOD knoweth that which ye do. (94) And be not like unto her who undoeth that which she hath spun, untwisting it after she hath twisted it strongly; taking your oaths between you deceitfully, because one party is more numerous than another party. Verily GOD only tempteth you therein; and he will make that manifest unto you, on the day of resurrection, concerning which ye now disagree. (95) If GOD had pleased, he would surely have made you one people: but he will lead into error whom he pleaseth, and he will direct whom he

or God's unity, without inclining to atheism, on the one hand, or polytheism, on the other; obedience to the commands of God ; and charity towards those in distress. And under the three things for bidden they comprehend all corrupt and carnal affections, all false doctrines and heretical opinions, and all injustice towards man. - Sale, Baidhawi.

Compare this summary of man's duty with Christ's teaching in Matt. xxii. 37-39.

(93) Perform your covenant with God. "By persevering in his true religion. Some think that the oath of fidelity taken to Muhammad by his followers is chiefly intended here."- Sale.

This verse is either abrogated by lxvi. 2, or it is contradicted by it. If abrogated, it militates against the moral character of the God of Islam, who can at one time command the observance of a moral obligation, and at another time permit its non-observance. To our mind, God could permit idol-worship with the same propriety that he could allow the non-observance of a solemn oath or "covenant with God."

(94) Be not like unto her, &c. "Some suppose that a particular woman is meant in this passage, who used (like Penelope) to undo at night the work that she had done in the day. Her name, they say, was Raita Bint Saad Ibn Taim, of the tribe of Quraish."- Sale, Baidhawi.

Taking your oaths . . . deceitfully. "Of this insincerity in their alliances the Quraish are accused; it being usual with them, when they saw the enemies of their confederates to be superior in force, to renounce their league with their old friends, and strike up one with the others."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(95) One people, or one religion. This passage contradicts the spirit of the former Scriptures; 2 Peter iii. 9, Ezek. xxxiii. 11, and Matt. xviii. 14.


pleaseth; and ye shall surely give an account of that which ye have done. (96) Therefore take not your oaths between you deceitfully lest your foot slip, after it hath been steadfastly fixed, and ye taste evil in this life, for that ye have turned aside from the way of GOD: and ye suffer a grievous punishment in the life to come. (97) And sell not the covenant of GOD for a small price; for with GOD is a better recompense prepared for you, if ye be men of understanding. (98) That which is with you will fail; but that which is with GOD is permanent: and we will surely reward those who persevere, according to the utmost merit of their actions. (99) Whoso worketh righteousness, whether he be male or female, and is a true believer, we will surely raise him to a happy life; and we will give them their reward, according to the utmost merit of their actions. (100) When thou readest the Quran, have recourse unto GOD, that he may preserve thee from Satan

(97) Sell not, &c. "That is, Be not prevailed on to renounce your religion, or your engagements with your Prophet, by any promises or gifts of the infidels. For, it seems, the Quraish, to tempt the poorer Muslims to apostatise, made them offers, not very considerable indeed, but such as they imagined might be worth their acceptance." - Sale, Baidhawi.

Modern Muslims follow this practice of their Prophet's tribe with strange fidelity, often contributing large sums to secure the apostasy of Christian converts from Islam. Of course, these cases only occur where Muslims are subjected to Christian rule; under Muslim rulers all such apostates from Islam would be condemned to death.

(99) A female. Another passage showing that women equally with men are promised the reward of a pious life. See note on chap. xiii. 23.

(100) Have recourse unto God. "Muhammad one day reading in the Quran, uttered a horrid blasphemy, to the great scandal of those who were present, as will be observed in another place (chap. xxii. 53, 54), to excuse which he assured them that those words were put into his mouth by the devil, and to prevent any such accidents for the future, he is here taught to beg God's protection before he entered on that duty. Hence the Muhammadans, before they begin to read any part of this book, repeat these words, ' I have recourse unto God for assistance against Satan driven away with stones.' "- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin, and Yahya.

This passage with reference in chap. xxii., is fatal to the claim of Muslims that their Prophet was absolutely sinless, or that he invariably spoke under the influence of his inspiration.


driven away with stones; (101) he hath no power over those who believe, and who put confidence in their LORD; (102) but his power is over those only who take him for their patron, and who give companions unto God.

R 14/20.

(103) When we substitute in the Quran an abrogating verse in lieu of a verse abrogated (and GOD best knoweth the fitness of that which he revealeth), the infidels say, Thou art only a forger of these verses: but the greater part now not truth from falsehood. (104) Say, The holy spirit hath brought the same down from thy LORD with truth; that he may confirm those who believe, and for a direction and good tidings unto the Muslims. (105) We also know that they say, Verily, a certain man

(103) When we substitute. See note on chap. ii. 105.

Only a forger Scarcely anything more clearly establishes this charge than the facility with which Muhammad applies this doctrine of abrogation.

(104) The holy spirit. Muslims interpret this language to mean the Angel Gabriel. See notes on chap. ii. 86 and iii. 39.

(105) A certain man teacheth him. The following is Sale's note on the passage. We give his authorities in a footnote below:-

"This was a great objection made by the Makkans to the authority of the Quran; for when Muhammad insisted, as a proof of its divine original, that it was impossible a man so utterly unacquainted with learning as himself could compose such a book, they replied that he had one or more assistants in the forgery; but as to the particular person or persons suspected of this confederacy, the traditions differ. One says it was Jabr, a Greek servant to Amar Ibn Hadhrami, who could read and write well (1) ; another, that they were Jabr and Yasar, two slaves who followed the trade of sword-cutlers at Makkah, and used to read the Pentateuch and Gospel, and had often Muhammad for their auditor when he passed that way. (2) Another tells us that it was one Aish or Yaish, a domestic of al Huaitib Ibn Abd al Uzza, who was a man of some learning, and had embraced Muhammadanism. (3) Another supposes it was one Qais, a Christian, whose house Muhammad frequented; (4) another, that it was Addas, a servant of Otha Ibn Rabia, (5) and another, that it was Salman the Persian. (6)

"According to some Christian writers, (7) Abdullah Ibn Salam, the Jew who was so intimate with Muhammad (named by one, according

1 Zamakhshari, Baidhawi, Yahya
2 Zamakhshari, Baidhawi. See Prideaux, Life of Mohammed, p. 32.
3 Ibidem.
4 Jalaluddin.
5 Zamakhshari, Yahya.
6 Zamakhsahri, Baidhawi.

7 Ricardi, Confut. Legis Saracenicae, c. 13; Joh. Andreas de Confus, Sectae Mahometanae, c. 2; see Prideaux, Life of Mohammed, pp. 33, 34.


teacheth him to compose the Quran. The tongue of the person unto whom they incline is a foreign tongue; but this, wherein the Quran is written, is the perspicuous Arabic tongue. (106) Moreover as for those who believe not the

to the Hebrew dialect, Abdias Ben Salon, and by another, Abdala Celen), was assisting him in the compiling his pretended revelations. This Jew Dr. Prideaux confounds with Salman the Persian, who was a very different man, as a late author (1) has observed before me; wherefore, and for that we may have occasion to speak of Salman hereafter, it may be proper to add a brief extract of his story as told by himself. He was of a good family of Ispahan, and in his younger years left the religion of his country to embrace Christianity, and travelling into Syria, was advised by a certain monk of Amuria to go into Arabia, where a prophet was expected to arise about that time, who should establish the religion of Abraham, and whom he should know, among other things, by the seal of prophecy between his shoulders. Salman performed the journey, and meeting with Muhammad at Kuba, where he rested in his flight to Madina, soon found him to be the person he sought, and professed Islam.(2)

"The general opinion of the Christians, however, is that the chief help Muhammad had in the contriving his Quran was from a Nestorian monk named Sergius, supposed to be the same person with the monk Buhaira, with whom Muhammad in his younger years had some conference at Bosra, a city of Syria Damascena, where that monk resided,(3) to confirm which supposition a passage has been produced from an Arab writer,(4) who says that Buhaira's name in the books of the Christians is Sergius, but this is only a conjecture; and another (5) tells us that his true name was Said or Felix, and his surname Buhaira. But be that as it will, if Buhaira and Sergius were the same man, I find not the least intimation in the Muhammadan writers that he ever quitted his monastery to go into Arabia (as is supposed by the Christians), and his acquaintance with Muhammad at Bosra was too early to favour the surmise of his assisting him in the Quran, which was composed long after, though Muhammad might from his discourse gain some knowledge of Christianity and of the Scriptures, which might be of use to him therein.

"From the answer given in this passage of the Quran to the objection of the infidels viz., that the person suspected by them to have a hand in the Quran spoke a foreign language, and therefore could not, with any face of probability, be supposed to assist in a composition written in the Arabic tongue, and with so great elegance, it is plain this person was no Arabian. The word Ajami, which is here used, signifies any foreign or barbarous language in general, but the Arabs applying it more particularly to the Persian, it has been thence concluded by some that Salman was the person. However,

1 Gagnier, note in Abulf., Vit. Moh., p.74.
2 Ex Ibn Ishaq; vide Gagnier, ibid.
3 See Prideaux, ubi sup., p.35, &c.; Gagnier, ubi sup., pp.10, 11; Marrac. de Alcor., p.37.
4 Al Masudi.
5 Abu'l Hasan al Baqri in Quran.


signs of GOD, GOD will not direct them, and they shall suffer a painful torment: (107) verily they imagine a falsehood who believe not in the signs of GOD, and they are really the liars. (108) Whoever denieth GOD, after he

if it be true that he came not to Muhammad till after the Hijra, either he could not be the man here intended, or else this verse must have been revealed at Madina, contrary to the common opinion."

On this subject Muir writes as follows : - "Shortly after Mahomet began to occupy the house of Arcam, several slaves allied themselves to him. Of these, Yasar and Jabr are mentioned by the commentators of the Coran as the parties accused by the Coreish of instructing the Prophet. The latter was the Christian servant of a family from Hadhramaut, and the Prophet is said to have sat much at his cell. The former better know under the name of Abu Fokeiha, was subjected to great persecution, but probably died some time before the Hegira. His daughter Fokeiha was married to Hattab, a convert, whom we find, with others of his family, among the subsequent emigrants to Abyssinia.

"A more importaut convert, styled by Mahomet 'the first-fruits of Greece,' was Suheib, son of Sinan. His home was at Mousal or some neighbouring Mesopotamian village. His father, or his uncle, had been the Persian governor of Obolla. A Grecian hand made an incursion into Mesopotamia, and carried him off, while yet a boy, to Syria, perhaps to Constantinople. Bought afterwards byaparty of the Bani Kaib, he was sold at Mecca to Abdalla lbn Jodaan, who gave him freedom and took him under his protection. A fair and very ruddy complexion marked his Northern birth, and broken Arabic betrayed a Grecian education. By traffic he acquired considerable wealth at Mecca; but having embraced Islam, and being left by the death of Abdalla without a patron, he suffered much at the hands of the unbelieving Coreish. It is probable that Mahomet gained some knowledge of Christianity from him, and he may be the same to whom the Meccans at a later period referred as the source of his Scriptural information: 'And indeed we know that they say, VERILY A CERTAIN MAN TEACHETH HIM,' &c. . . . Another freed slave, Ammar, used to resort to the house of Arcam, and simultaneously with Suheib embraced Islam."- Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. pp.122-125.

Whatever doubt may remain as to the identity of the person alluded to here, of one thing we are certainly informed - that Muhammad had the means of receiving help from both Jews and Christians some years before he fled to Madina. That he availed himself of this help, the stories related in the later Makkan chapters of the Quran, drawn as they are from the Jewish Scriptures and traditions, suffice to prove beyond all doubt. The passage before us tells us the charge of receiving help from foreigners was made against Muhammad by his neighbours. His reply proves the weakness of his effort to rebut the charge; for as Arnold well says, "admitting they were foreigners they might nevertheless supply him with


hath believed, except him who shall be compelled against his will, and whose heart continueth steadfast in the faith, shall be severely chastised: but whoever shall voluntarily profess infidelity, on those shall the indignation of God

materials." This is just what they did do, and it is because Muhammad wrought up these materials to suit his prophetic purposes, and then repeated them as the very word of God received by direct revelation from heaven through the ministration of the Angel Gabriel - it is because of this that we do not hesitate to reiterate the old charge of deliberate imposture.

Mr. Bosworth Smith (Mohamed and Mohammedanism, p. 134) admits that after the Hijra "a change does seem to come over him. The revelations of the Koran are more and more suited to the particular circumstances and caprices of the moment." But were we to trace this trait of Muhammad's character back from Madina towards Makkah, he would find it fully manifested long before he left his native city. Circumstances no doubt modi fled its manifestation, but the trait of character was the same.

(108) Except him, &c. "These words were added for the sake of Ammar Ibn Yasir and some others, who, being taken and tortured by the Quraish, renounced their faith out of fear, though their hearts agreed not with their mouths. It seems Ammar wanted the constancy of his father and mother, Yasir and Summaya, who underwent the like trial at the same time with their son, and resolutely refusing to recant, were both put to death, the infidels trying Summaya between two camels and striking a lance through her privy parts. When news was brought to Muhammad that Ammar had denied the faith, he said it could not be, for that Ammar was full of faith from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot, faith being mixed and incorporated with his very flesh and blood; and when Ammar himself came weeping to the Prophet, he wiped his eyes, saying, 'What fault was it of thine if they forced thee?'

But though it be here said that those who apostatise in appearance only, to avoid death or torments, may hope for pardon from God, yet it is unanimously agreed by the Muhammadan doctors to be much more meritorious and pleasing in the sight of God courageously and nobly to persist in the true faith, and rather to suffer death itself than renounce it even in words. Nor did the Muhammadan religion want its martyrs, in the strict sense of the word, of which I will here give two instances besides the above-mentioned. One is that of Khubaib Ibn Ada, who being perfidiously sold to the Quraish, was by them put to death in a cruel manner-by mutilation and cutting off his flesh piecemeal ; and being asked in the midst of his tortures whether he did not wish Muhammad was in his place, answered, 'I would not wish to be with my family, my substance, and my children on condition that Muhammad was only to be pricked with a thorn.' The other is that of a man who was put to death by Musailama on the following occasion. That false prophet having taken two of Muhammad's


fall, and they shall suffer a grievous punishment. (109) This shall be their sentence, because they have loved the present life above that which is to come, and for that GOD directeth not the unbelieving people. (110) These are they whose hearts, and hearing, and sight, GOD hath sealed up; and these are the negligent: there is no doubt but that in the next life they shall perish. (111) Moreover thy LORD will be favourable unto those who have fled their country, after having suffered persecution, and had been compelled to deny the faith by violence, and who have since fought in defence of the true religion, and have persevered with patience; verily unto these will thy LORD be gracious and merciful, after they shall have shown their sincerity.

R 15/21

(112) On a certain day shall every soul come to plead

followers, asked one of them what he said of Muhammad? The man answered that he was the apostle of God. 'And what sayest thou of me?' added Musailama; to which he replied, 'Thou also art the apostle of God,' whereupon he was immediately dismissed in safety. But the other, having returned the same answer to the former question, refused to give any to the last though required to do it three several times, but pretended to be deaf, and was therefore slain. It is related that Muhammad, when the story of these two men was told him, said, 'The first of them threw himself on God's mercy, but the latter professed the truth, and he shall find his account in it.' "- Sale, on authority of Baidhawi, Zamakhshari, Yahya, and Ibn Shonah.

This passage certainly encourages Muslims to dissemble in order to escape persecution. The cases of martyrdom mentioned by Sale may exhibit the sincerity of the martyrs, but at the same time they show, in the light of this verse; their ignorance. Muslims admit that lying, if used to protect one's own life or property, is justifiable. See notes on chap. xxxix. 54. Compare with this precept of the incomparable Quran our Lord's words in Luke xiv. 26, 27.

(109) God directeth not, &c. "Yet he directed the unbelieving Arabians, who were plunged in idolatry and unbelief till Mohammed preached to them." Brinckman's Notes on Islam, p. 127.

The statement of the text is, however, consistent with the doctrine that the infidels were given over to judicial blindness. That this is the meaning here is evident from the verse following.

(111) Those who have fled, &c. The Muhajirin, being either those who fled to Abyssinia or those who afterwards went to Madina; most probably the latter. See on ver. 43 above.

(112) Every soul &c., i.e. "every person shall be solicitous for his own salvation, not concerning himself with the condition of another, but crying out, 'My own soul, my own soul "'- Sale, Baidhawi.


for itself, and every soul shall be repaid that which it shall have wrought; and they shall not be treated unjustly. (113) GOD propoundeth as a parable a city which was secure and quiet, unto which her provisions came in abundance from every side; but she ungratefully denied the favour of GOD: wherefore GOD caused her to taste the extreme famine, and fear, because of that which they had done. (114) And now is an apostle come unto the inhabitants of Makkah from among themselves; and they accuse him of imposture: wherefore a punishment shall be inflicted on them, while they are acting unjustly. (115) Eat of what GOD hath given you for food, that which is lawful and good; and be thankful for the favours of GOD, if ye serve him. (116) He hath only forbidden you that which dieth of itself, and blood, and swine's flesh, and that which hath been slain in the name of any besides GOD. But unto him who shall be compelled by necessity to eat of these things, not lasting nor wilfully transgressing, GOD will surely be gracious and merciful. (117) And say not that wherein your tongues utter a lie; This is lawful, and this is unlawful; that ye may devise a lie concerning GOD: for they who devise concerning GOD shall not prosper. (118) They shall have small enjoy

(113) A city. " This example is applied to every city which having received great blessings from God, becometh insolent and unthankful, and therefore chastised by some signal judgment, or rather to Makkah in particular, on which the calamities threatened in this passage, viz., both famine and sword, were inflicted."- Sale, Baidhawi.

The next verse decides in favour of Makkah alone, for it should have been translated, as in Rodwell, "And now is an apostle come unto them from among themselves," &c.

And fear. This points to the fear of the people of Makkah that the famine would become more rigorous than yet felt. We see how Muhammad took advantage of this calamity to forward his own claims. See notes on chap. xxiii. 76-78, and chap. xliv. 14.

(116) He hath only forbidden, &c. See notes on chap. V. 4-6, and chap. vi. 118-121.

(117) This lawful &c. "Allowing what God hath forbidden, and superstitiously abstaining from what he hath allowed."- Sale. See chap. vi. 119.


ment in this world, and in that which is to come they shall suffer a grievous torment. (119) Unto the Jews did we forbid that which we have told thee formerly: and we did them no injury in that respect; but they injured their own souls. (120) Moreover thy LORD will be favourable unto those who do evil through ignorance, and afterwards repent and amend: verily unto these will thy LORD be gracious and merciful, after their repentance.

R 16/22.

(121) Abraham was a model of true religion, obedient unto GOD, orthodox, and was not an idolater: he was also grateful for his benefits: (122) wherefore God chose him, and directed him into the right way. (123) And we bestowed on him good in this world; and in the next he shall surely be one of the righteous. (124) We have also spoken unto thee, O Muhammad, by revelation, saying, Follow the religion of Abraham, who was orthodox, and was no idolater. (125) The sabbath was only appointed

(119) They injured their own souls, i.e., "they were forbidden things which were in themselves indifferent, as a punishment for their wickedness and rebellion."- Sale. See chap. vi. 146.

(121) Orthodox. The original word is hanif, meaning to turn or convert. See Rodwell, in loco.

"Long anterior to the Hegira, Mahomet propounded in the Coran the doctrine that a grand catholic faith pervaded all ages and revelations - a faith which, in its purest form, had been held by the patriarch Abraham. This primitive religion, varied at each dispensation by accidental rites, comprised, as its essential features, belief in the one true God, rejection of all idolatry or worship of mediators as sharers in the power and glory of the Deity, and the implicit surrender of the will to God: such surrender is termed 'Islam;' and hence Abraham is called 'the first of Moslems.' To this original Islam it was now the mission of Mahomet to recall the whole of mankind."- Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. pp.294, 295.

Not an idolater. "This was to reprehend the idolatrous Quraish, who pretended that they professed the religion of Abraham."- Sale.

(124) See above on ver. 121.

(125) The sabbath, &c. "These were the Jews, who being ordered by Moses to set apart Friday (the day now observed by the Muhammadans) for the exercise of divine worship, refused it, and chose the sabbath-day, because on that day God rested from his works of creation: for which reason they were commanded to keep the day -they had chosen in the strictest manner."-Sale.

If this interpretation be correct, this passage contradicts the Bible,


unto those who differed with their prophet concerning it; and thy LORD will surely judge between them, on the day of resurrection, as to that concerning which they differed. (126) Invite men unto the way of thy LORD, by wisdom, and mild exhortation; and dispute with them in the most condescending manner: for thy LORD well knoweth who strayeth from his path, and he well knoweth those him who are rightly directed. (127) If ye take vengeance on any, take a vengeance proportionable to the wrong which hath been done you; but if ye suffer wrong patiently, verily this will be better for the patient. (128) Where-fore do thou bear opposition with patience; but thy patience shall not be practicable, unless with GOD'S assistance. And be thou not grieved on account of the unbelievers; neither be thou troubled for that which they subtilely devise; for GOD is with those who fear him, and are upright.

which declares the Sabbath to have been given in the Decalogue by God himself, the children of Israel having nothing to do with its establishment.

(126) Invite... by wisdom and mild exhortation, &c. The preacher of Makkah believed in moral suasion, but the politician of Madina preferred force, as the means of persuading men to accept of Islam. See chap. ii. 190-193, and chap. ix. 5.

(127) Vengeance proportionable, &c. "This passage is supposed to have been revealed at Madina, on occasion of Hamza, Muhammad's uncle, being slain at the battle of Ohod. For the infidels having abused his dead body, by taking out his bowels, and cutting off his ears and his nose, when Muhammad saw it, he swore that if God granted him success, he would retaliate those cruelties on seventy of the Quraish; but he was by these words forbidden to execute what he had sworn, and he accordingly made void his oath. Abulfida makes the number on which Muhammad swore to wreak his vengeance to be but thirty: but it may be observed by the way that the translator renders this passage in that author, 'God hath revealed unto me that I shall retaliate,' &c., instead of; 'If God grant me victory over the Quraish I will retaliate', &c., reading Lain adhharni for adhfarni; God, far from putting this design into the Prophet's head by a revelation, expressly forbidding him to put it in execution."- Sale.

It is more likely that this verse was simply applied by Muhammad to the case of Hamza. So Weil on authority of NoŽldeke.

The patient. "Here," says Baidhawi, "the Quran principally points at Muhammad, who was of all men the most conspicuous for meekness and clemency."- Sale.

Table of Contents
Answering Islam Home Page